Filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is coming to theaters at a critical point in time. When the Black Panther Party was founded in 1966, it was in reaction to unjust conditions: police violence, substandard education, and joblessness. Nelson writes: “As we witness the similarities between the injustices of yesterday and the tragedies of today, we feel a sense of urgency to share the story of the Black Panther Party. We are struck by the way today's movement around police brutality and accountability is being led by young people seeking change, just as it was with the Black Panther Party almost 50 years ago.”
Nelson has won literally every major award in broadcasting, including a National Medal from President Barack Obama, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and a Primetime Emmy, to name just a few. Since Nelson is currently running a Kickstarter project to help fund the theatrical release of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, we asked him to share his impactful and inspiring insights with us. What follows is an annotated series of archival photos from the Black Panther movement, plus his thoughts on how we can learn from our past, and how today's filmmakers can best use storytelling for positive social impact.
At the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Nikola Tesla demonstrated wireless power by illuminating light bulbs from across a stage. The audience there probably felt the same way we did when we first saw Flyte. Making use of both magnetic levitation and inductive power, Flyte is a levitating light. Just plug in the base, set the shatterproof light bulb in place, and bask in the light of the coolest lamp you've ever seen.
Every year at the San Diego International Comic-Con, the Eisner Awards are distributed to recognize creative achievement in the comics industry. Named for comic writer and artist Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit and the man responsible for popularizing the term "graphic novel," the awards are the comic industry's equivalent of the Oscars. Yesterday the 2015 nominations were announced, and we were stoked to see a wide range of familiar creators on the list.
"I wanted to make a piece of art that would be the change I wanted to see in the world," says Dax Tran-Caffee. Failing Sky, a web-based indie graphic novel with giant robots, which Tran-Caffee partially describes as "a memoir, a failed sailor, a genderqueer Nancy Drew, giant robots" is the result of that effort. Failing Sky has been nominated in the Best Digital/Web Comic category.
In The Dark is an exploration of all the frightful things that go bump in the night. With over 20 all-new, original horror stories, this collection features the work of an incredible roster of writers and artists. In The Dark has been nominated in the Best Anthology category.
Over 100 years ago, Winsor McCay created a full-page weekly comic strip titled Little Nemo in Slumberland. His pioneering work has been celebrated ever since. Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream is an anthology featuring the work of some of the world's finest contemporary cartoonists, as they weave a new dream world for Nemo, and pay tribute to McCay in the process. Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream has been nominated in the Best Anthology and Best Publication Design categories.
The Obscure Cities is a French graphic novel series set on a counter-Earth, started in the early 1980s. The publisher responsible for the English translations stopped issuing new editions in 2002, leaving three graphic novels and at least five other books in the series without translation. The Leaning Girl is book six in The Obscure Cities series, and Steve Smith of Alaxis Press spent months translating this story of a 13-year-old girl who lives life at a 30 degree angle after an amusement park accident. The Leaning Girl has been nominated in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material , and Best Penciller/Inker (François Schuiten) categories.
At the end of 2013, Fantagraphics ran a project to fund its 2014 publishing season. As a publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, graphic novels, and more, Fantagraphics is deeply rooted in the comic community and they saw a tremendous outpouring of support. We were delighted to see that Fantagraphics received 15 total nomination for various books in various categories.
Congratulations once again to all of the nominees. We'll be rooting for you come July!